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GTA V Review | Action-packed mayhem

Shaun M Jooste

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GTA V is an open-world third-person shooting game developed and published by Rockstar Games that launched on September 17, 2013. It follows the lives of three protagonists that become entwined in the schemes they plot together. While there’s plenty to do in the main mission, you can also play casual side games or complete other objectives unrelated to the storyline.

There’s also a multiplayer mode called GTA Online that you’ll receive with the game for free. While we’ll mention some aspects in passing in this Grand Theft Auto V review, we’ll cover them in more detail in a separate article. For now, let’s see what you can expect from the campaign side. You can also check out some tips on how to play GTA V if you’re a beginner to the franchise.

GTA V Review | Action-packed mayhem
Grand Theft Auto V Play now

GTA V story and quests

As with every Grand Theft Auto game since the beginning, there’s a detailed plot that will keep you busy with several main and side missions. The GTA V storyline is no different, but there is one chief difference from its predecessors. Let’s take a closer look at the review below.

A tale of three comrades

For the first time in the history of the Grand Theft Auto series, GTA V introduced the ability to change between three main characters. You’ll start with Michael in the introduction, but the game lets you switch between him, Trevor, and Franklin. How their lives become entwined in the plot is what keeps you hooked throughout the game.

The story revolves around how a heist goes bad at the start and Michael is left for dead. Feeling betrayed, he makes a deal with the FIB. After the prologue, we go nine years into the future where Michael is living a protected, free life with his wife and children. Michael and Franklin meet up when the latter tries to steal a car. 

They become friends, but Michael soon needs money and calls Franklin in to help with a heist. Unfortunately, Michael’s crazy friend Trevor hears about it through the grapevine and confronts Michael about his disappearance. With the three united, all hell breaks loose as they aim for a final heist to end all heists, with the FIB, gangs, and other unsavory characters hunting for their heads.

Helping strangers

The story has several side missions that aren’t directly linked to the plot but may help it along. You’ll meet strangers that become helpful acquaintances along the way. There are also once-off quests where you’ll never see the characters again. You can gain money and experience by completing them, which leads me to the next section of this GTA V review.

Completing GTA V 100%

You’ll find thousands of GTA completionists around the world playing Grand Theft Auto V for months on end just to reach the achievement of 100% completion. The storyline contains the largest portion of it, while there are side missions to obtain the last percentages. Besides finishing extra quests, there are also items you’ll need to collect.

If you need help with objectives, here are 10 tips for completing missions in GTA V.

How long to play GTA V

How long you’ll play GTA V depends on your approach. If you just want to speed through the main missions, it will take you anywhere from 31 hours and up. Should you want to obtain 100% completion, it can take you from 79 hours and longer, especially if you fail quests too many times. I suspect GTA VI will be much larger in scope, which is quite exciting.

GTA V gaming elements

There are a few games similar to GTA V in gameplay, and fans often turn to them for more entertainment in this genre. Some good examples include Red Dead Redemption II, Saints Row: The Third, and Mafia 3. For now, let me show you some of Grand Theft Auto V’s game mechanics.

Learning how to play GTA V

Rockstar Games has a reputation for integrating the introduction with tutorial mechanics. GTA V lives up to that legacy, letting you test the controls before you head to the main city of Los Santos. 

It’s an exciting way to learn how the game works, and even beginners to the series will get the hang of it quickly. When you come across something new in the game, such as weapons, there will be a quick tip on how it works.

Switching characters

The one gameplay element you’ll need to master is changing characters in GTA V. Even if you enjoy only one of them the most, you won’t be able to proceed with the story if you don’t switch to the one who will begin the next plot quest.

You’ll notice that there are numbers on the character wheel at the bottom of the screen. These digits indicate how many quests you have available for Michael, Trevor, and Franklin. Some of them are small quests, but one of them relates to the primary plot. When you’re deep in the middle of a heist that requires all three, the wheel will flash, telling you that you need to switch to someone else to continue.

Combat mechanics

As GTA V is primarily a third-person shooting game, the combat mechanics revolve around firearms and melee weapons. You can quickly aim and switch between opponents with the click of a button while hiding behind objects will protect you from incoming bullets. 

When you kill enemies that carry weapons, you can sometimes collect them for yourself and the appropriate ammo. It’s best to save up some funds to buy guns at the nearest Ammu-Nation store. You’ll notice some weapons are locked until you progress further. Don’t forget to grab some armor while you’re in there. You can also practice at the indoor shooting range.

Making money in GTA V

One of the top goals is to make money in GTA V. Besides weapons, you can buy homes, entertainment areas, different transport vehicles, and so much more. While the main mission will bring in some cash, there’s plenty you can do as side hustles. 

For example, you can steal vehicles and sell them to one of your contacts, or you can enter some night street races. I’ll discuss more about these activities in this GTA V review later. The important part you need to remember is that money will get you far in the game. 

The only issue is that sources for cash flow vaguely vanish after you complete the game. You can still pursue nefarious activities, but they won’t bring in the millions as the money heist missions did. I have the feeling that Rockstar Games felt it was unnecessary, as most gamers move to GTA Online when done with GTA V’s campaign.

Acquiring assets

A way to show off your wealth in GTA V is by buying assets throughout Los Santos. You don’t have to settle for one home, albeit, every character gets one thanks to the main story. You’ll also need to obtain garages for your vehicles, for which you’ll need funds.

Claiming cars, bikes, boats, and planes is as easy as stealing them, hence the name Grand Theft Auto. If you see something you like, take it as your own and save it in your garage, hangar, or dock. You can also modify some of your vehicles if you want to drive in style down the streets of Los Santos.

You can also amass an arsenal of weapons, but you can’t sell these for money. Sadly, you won’t be able to view your collection on a wall like in other games, namely, Hitman 2 and Assasin’s Creed 3. It’s one feature I’m hoping Rockstar Games brings to the series one day.

Finally, you can buy some entertainment facilities to enjoy. Some examples include a tennis court, a golf club, and a taxi company.

Casual activities

When you’re tired of completing missions, you can use your hard-earned money for casual activities in GTA V. You can head to the strip club and throw some notes around, or play darts against NPCs. There are also different race events, which let you show off your skills on land, sea, or in the skies. It gives you a taste of what to expect in GTA Online.

Online mode

While Grand Theft Auto V has been around for almost a decade now, many players are still enjoying GTA Online as the online multiplayer mode. It deserves a review of its own, as there are so many aspects to cover. Suffice it to say that there are several modes you can enjoy, and I’ll touch on them lightly for a moment.

For the most part, there are various race modes that you’ll not see in any other car game available. Some are utterly frustrating, while others are entertaining. There are also shooting arenas that are more akin to Call of Duty: Warzone and multiplayer modes in other COD titles. You can also pull off bank heists or sell cars in GTA V Online.

The best part of GTA V online is that you can run around freely until you choose to enter a game mode. You’ll see other players on the streets, and you’re free to kill them if you want to. The main objective is to make loads of money to buy assets by any means possible.

How does GTA V perform on PC?

GTA V’s computer requirements are incredibly high, but that’s to be expected with a game that’s so vast and incredible to behold. While there are minimum requirements, these change over time as Rockstar Games add new content. 

  • Operating System: Windows 10 64 Bit, Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz (4 CPUs) / AMD Phenom 9850 Quad-Core Processor (4 CPUs) @ 2.5GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA 9800 GT 1GB / AMD HD 4870 1GB (DX 10, 10.1, 11)
  • Storage: 72 GB available space
  • Sound Card: 100% DirectX 10 compatible

If you comfortably meet these requirements, you should be able to play without any lag in gaming performance. 

Installing GTA V mods

One last aspect to cover for the gameplay is that you can install GTA V mods to add some items or change elements. The mod community has been hard at work creating new content, and many of them are amusing to use. However, you’ll need a GTA V mod manager for them to work.

GTA V’s impressive visual and sound qualities

Finally, I’m going to look at the graphics and sound for my GTA V review. If you’ve seen some screenshots, you’ll know just how spectacular the game looks. There are some finer points I want to cover, though.

Overall graphics

GTA V looks pristine, especially if you have a high-end PC that can show off all the lighting, shades, and textures to the maximum. It looks more realistic than GTA IV, which really set the bar for graphics in the series. The explosions and effects are phenomenal, and it will be interesting to see how Rockstar Games can top it with GTA VI.

Character and world designs

Character models look superb, and they react well to objects hitting them in GTA V. There have been some glitches in the past where characters didn’t look right or interacted poorly with walls and other items, but many of those bugs have been fixed. 

The city buildings look outstanding, and flying in a helicopter and watching the sunset from above the skyscrapers is absolutely beautiful. Even when driving at high speeds, you sometimes want to perform a drift just to see the glorious colors and buildings. Even the draw distance is fantastic, but again, it depends on your PC resources.

Map icons and interface

The most significant aspect of the graphics as it relates to gameplay is the interface and map icons. You’ll always know when there’s an activity in your area by small dots and icons on the map. You can enlarge the map in the pause menu, where you can plan your routes or find shortcuts. The interface while playing is minimal so that you can enjoy the view without too much text and overlays.

Sound effects

The sound in GTA V is incredible. Firstly, you have professional voice acting, which one has come to expect from a Rockstar Game. Then there are the noises of the city, the explosions and gunfire, and the roar of engines in the various vehicles. If you love music, you can tune into the iconic radio stations while driving your car, or listen to the talk shows we’ve grown to love.

GTA V: an exciting adventure in a gaming world

As you can see from my GTA V review, I enjoyed the action game to the max, and there are so many levels to engage with. From the main and side missions to acquiring assets and vehicles, there’s so much you can do in the vast open-world city.

If you haven’t as yet, I recommend you download Grand Theft Auto V before GTA VI appears so you can experience it before we move on to the next one. Just be warned that there’s plenty of violence, bad language, and nudity, so it’s not for sensitive players.

Pros

  • Vast open world
  • Plenty of missions and action
  • Assisted aiming and shooting
  • Variety of vehicles to steal or buy
  • Loads of casual activities
  • Gorgeous graphics and stunning sound
  • Outstanding effects
  • Lengthy gameplay

Cons

  • Requires exceptionally high system resources
  • Challenging to make money after completion

Developer: Rockstar Games

Publisher: Rockstar Games

Game Modes: Campaign, Multiplayer

Platform reviewed: Windows 11

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